Here are some postcards either issued by or showing scenes along the Rio Grande Railroad. The first one, which shows Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods as viewed from the visitor center, is marked “D&RG Ry.” The lack of a “W” dates it to before 1920. The postcard itself is of the “early divided back era” which dates it to before 1915.
The next card was also issued in the “D&RG” era, but the white border indicates it is from the late 1910s. The Denver & Rio Grande Western resulted from the 1920 merger of the Denver & Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Western, but even before the merger the two had close ties as indicated by the fact that th scene in this D&RG postcard, Soldier Summit, was actually on the RGW. If I were the railroad, I’m not sure I’d brag that my line was so steep that five locomotives were required to haul a passenger train over the summit.
The next card can be more precisely dated because it was mailed from Brighton, Colorado in 1916. The message to “Mr. E.W. Dibble” of Kensington, Ohio is difficult to read but it doesn’t appear to have any railroad content.
The next card shows a famous picture at Castle Gate on the west side of the Utah mountains showing a Diesel freight, a steam-powered freight, and a passenger train. The picture was “photoshopped” and would be impossible to replicate today as the State of Utah blew up one side of the Castle Gate in order to make room for Interstate 70.
Finally, we enter the post-war era with a photograph of the Royal Gorge in Rio Grande Gold (a color scheme first used in 1945) heading west after it has passed through its namesake canyon. Although the postcard appears to show a streamlined train, most if not all of the cars in the picture are rebuilt heavyweights dating as far back as 1910. In 1949, Rio Grande added streamlined cars to the Royal Gorge, including a dome car, and the open platform observation car and lack of a dome in the photo shows it must be from the 1945-1948 period.